Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

First and foremost, I want to wish a Happy Memorial Day to all and a huge thank you to all of our troops - past, present, and future. We would not be where we are today without all of you and for that I will be eternally greatful. I especially would like to include all of my grandfathers (and grandmothers), uncles, friends, and most importantly, my wonderful husband. I love you and I am so proud of what you do for your country (even if you don't always think it is enough).

Onto band news! Everything here is going pretty smoothly. I can tell my portion sizes are a bit bigger than they should be, but its just 4-6 oz instead of 2 oz. I felt a little out of control after the wedding (even though I didn't eat that badly) so I am trying to keep with my smaller portions so I don't make any huge mistakes. The wedding went great by the way! I tried my best not to feel like the fattest girl there (even though I was) and it worked until I saw some pics of myself from the wedding that were not so flattering (like all of them...well there was one of Chris and I that I liked). There were only a few minor issues and the rest of it went smoothly (thank God!) I had a few 'bad' things while I was there, but they were small and did not follow me home.

The only problem I am having right now is getting all my protein and water. For the record, Muscle Milk Light is terrible! At least the chocolate kind is. I will NEVER buy it again. ICKY! I was never happier to get back to my cheap Walmart protein mix! This week I am going to get vanilla protein mix and some fruit and things to mix in with it to make them taste better and have fruit in them too! I'm pretty excited about mixing up the protein shakes and making them more interesting. I am not having any REAL cravings, but I do have a lot of temptations and I will admit I take a bite of things here and there that I feel can't resist. I do NOT, however, take more than that. I also still get occasionally grumpy at Chris (or anyone else around me really) for eating things I can't eat around me. I know I will just have to get past this since it will be that way forever, but it still gets to me on occasion right now. I'm working on it though!

Last Tuesday was my first support group meeting since my banding and it was super fun! Everyone there has only had gastric bypass so they all had lots of questions about my experience and there was even a new girl there who was considering lap band! This made me really happy as I like to share my experience and answer any questions anyone has for me. I gave her my email and a link to my blog in hopes of helping her make an informed decision about the lap band surgery. I also want to encourage ANYONE who reads this blog who has any questions about anything regarding my surgery please ask! Email me, facebook me, message me, comment on here, call/text me - anything!

My one month checkup is this Thursday and I can't wait! I get to meet with the dietitian first and I am going to bring my food diary (which I fill out truthfully everyday) and then I get to see my surgeon and hopefully get the go-ahead to work out for real and HOPEFULLY get a fill! I am trying not to get my hopes up on that but I can't help but be excited. On that note, as of today I have lost 16 pounds total :) AND I think I am starting to see it! Wednesday, I plan on taking another set of pictures to add to my collection...I may or may not put them up here. Depending on if I think there is a noticeable difference...

Well, I better get off here!

<3 Erin

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2 week bandiversary!

Hello there readers!

Today is officially my 2 week bandiversary! My incisions are healing great and I usually forget they are even there! I still have some of the bandage strips (Steri-Strips) on a few of them but I am supposed to let them come off on their I am. My large incision is partially free of the strips and feels fine. (Although when you press on it lightly you can feel the lump where it is healing back together...creepy!) The small incisions are smaller than I even thought will be gone in no time! The one on my belly button is doing fine as well and hasn't bothered me at all today now that I think about it (unless I bend completely over for too long). I have not tried to wear jeans yet though. I hope to possibly do that this weekend (more on that in a few). I am no longer wearing my binder thing-a-ma-jig and I only use my blanket for my stomach at work (my desk hits me right at my large incision). Overall, healing seems to be going great! I am still taking my icky medicine 4 times a day (before meals and at night) and I have about 1-1/2 bottles left. I'm hoping it will be gone by the month's end! (REALLY hoping! I am so OVER that stuff.)

Hunger-wise I am still hungry from time to time, especially if I do not drink my protein shake like I am supposed too. I am currently eating strict 2 oz meals for breakfast and 3-4 oz meals for lunch and dinner. (This is a bit more than recommended but I have a hard time measuring things without my cups and I don't always use them - although I probably should and I fear for my husbands life if I eat so less than I am right now.) I never get full, however, so I know that I am not over eating. As far as cheating goes...the only snacks I eat are sugar free Jell-o and pudding and for this week only I occasionally (once a night or so) have 3 little pieces (so, 1 row of a bar) of Hershey's Special Dark chocolate...and I savor every second of it! I won't lie either, hunger sucks. I have definitely had my moments where I question what I did to myself and WHY would I do something that forbade me to ever eat french fries again??!?!!? WHY CRUEL FATE?! .... Then I remember that it was my choice and I CAN eat fries, but I am choosing NOT TOO because I am a good girl...and I will resist you stupid delicious french fries of doom and cellulite. (Can you tell fries and I have a love-hate relationship?) But really, it's rough and can suck at times, but I am dealing.

I am very slowly learning to deal with my jealousy of other people eating what they want and drinking their pop (but I will say, I have not craved any pop since my surgery!) while I am sitting here drinking my not so tasty protein shakes and eating my 2ish oz of so-not-enough mushies. I also remind myself that in 2 more weeks I will hopefully get a fill and begin my journey to not being so hungry and being satisfied with these small portions I am doing right now. I am still working on eating slowly and I can tell when I eat too fast because I get hiccups! (BUt they don't hurt anymore thankfully!)

When I am feeling really frazzled I get on the LapBand Talk message boards or my Realize Band website and read and read and read and remind myself that I am not alone and if all of these other people can get past bandster hell then so can I! I am doing the damn thing already! As of today, I have lost 9 pounds. This doesn't seem too real to me yet because I don't feel like I am showing it, but I am hoping that when I try on my jeans this weekend they will seem just a *bit* bigger on me and then I really start to feel it.

Speaking of this weekend, I am going to be in a wedding (for my BFF Alex...who has already been married for over 2 years...long story). I am wearing a wrap dress. I tried it a few ways last night and I was NOT feeling it. I think it will be better once I get a new pair of Spanx and a safey pin or 2. (And a few more girls to help with situating it and to give their opinions. I love my husband, but he thinks I look beautiful all the time and is NO HELP when it comes to these matters...bless him.) Right now, the silky material shows all my lumps, and that's not cool. I am hoping the Spanx will smooth out all those lumps, at least for the few hours I will be in the dress. My friend is so awesome, she even is making sure there is stuff there that I can eat too. :) Granted, I can eat just about anything as long as I chew it well (except for bread, tortillas, chips, lettuce, rice, pasta, potato skin...ya know basically anything that has a lot of carbs...and tastes delicious).

On that note, I think I am going to finish my protein shake and enjoy my last bit of yummy dark chocolate before bed!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mushies and then some

I wasn't going to post again tonight for fear of being annoying, but I had to talk about a few things.

Firstly, yes. Oh. Yes. My tuna salad was amazing (thanks to my mom, because she makes the BEST tuna salad EVER and now I can make it!). I had 3 oz of tuna salad with 10 Special K crackers (which are the size of stamp) and it was uh-mazing. Dinner was 1 oz of tuna salad and 3 oz of green beans. Yes, I went over on my ounces BUT it was green beans not cake...I also had Chris dress them up a little with whatever seasonings he puts on them and it was yummy! (Thanks babe!) So, overall mushies is going swimmingly. I am still hungry from time to time but as I find new things to eat and start cooking some chicken, I think it will help bunches.

Other than that, I am healing quite well. I am moving better and better every day and I did not wear my binder at all today! I haven't decided if I am going to wear it to bed yet....I think I will just see how I feel, who knows, I may even feel frisky and sleep on my right side! That would an awesome change! One of the steri-strips came off today, from my incision on the far right. Looks good so far...I am eagerly awaiting when the rest fall off! Two out of the 4 on my largest incision are about to fall off as well so here's hoping!

Onto the last thing I wanted to talk about quickly tonight... As I said previously, I have the Realize Band and my surgeon chose that because he believes the website is more user friendly. Well, I checked it out tonight and let me just say... WOW He was right!

The Realize Band website is seriously awesome! Not only can you post pics for comparison, track your weight loss (with a little digital you that gets smaller as you do) and measurements, but it also has sections for fitness goals and tracking, reminders and tips to keep you on track, doctor's appointments and fill updates, and a menu tracker to fill out what you eat, how much water you drink, and if you take your vitamins AND a few things more I'm sure I have forgotten. It also has all of my surgeon's info on it and he is able to see my progress as well! Now, I know you can do all of this on your own but when it is all in one place and so neatly organized it is so, so much better. Thank you Dr. Diaz for choosing the Realize Band for my band!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

So close to tuna-heaven!

Firstly, I want to thank everyone for their encouraging words on here and on FB and LBT and through email regarding my pseudo-depressing post last night. I was just miserable but your positive words really helped keep me on track and remind myself that I am healing right now and that's what I should be focused on!

After last night and waking up starving this morning, I broke down and emailed one of the dietitians at St. Vincent's before work this morning. She basically suggested I spread out my protein shakes and only drink them when I am hungry (that way they go to good use). I was going to spread them out anyway, but I didn't think about drinking them only when hungry. I'm more of a schedule person. So, that is my plan for tomorrow. Oh, and there will be tuna salad (with a few fancy Special K crackers!).

I have my eggs boiling right now I am soooo excited! (How sad is that? lol) Today was not nearly as bad at work with the hunger. I drank half of my protein shake in the morning and half in the afternoon. I also had strawberry yogurt for breakfast and lunch and it seemed to keep me feeling fuller for longer (because it has protein). Well, it felt that way until I drank water, then not so much. AND I forgot my Jell-o this morning! DUH ERIN! I was just so tired this morning (and all day really - SUPER busy at work lately). I'm not used to getting up at 6:30 yet :/. Tomorrow I am getting up at 6 to shower and make myself 1 delicious scrambled egg and to enjoy 1/8 cup (that's 2 tablespoons if you're curious) of Cheerios (but I am fudging a bit and doing Honey Nut Cheerios because well....they're better!). I. Am. So. Excited!

I will probably scour the Lap Band Talk message boards tonight for mushies recipes so I don't get bored eating this way for a month...wish me luck!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Work, day 1

Well, today was my first day back to work after my surgery. I am 5 days post-op feeling relatively alright - pain wise. My highlights from work (not including 4 days of crap to catch up on) consisted of telling about a million people how I was, how the surgery went, and how I am feeling now. Sitting in the chair at work was pretty uncomfortable with my stomach binder on as I drank my protein shake this morning so I took it off fairly quickly. It felt better, but not great. I am starting to try to have it off for a while now and only use it when I am in the car, walking, or sleeping. My chair and desk are not very kind to stomach stitches, but I will live I think.

My biggest issue right now is I am STARVING. My first few days I was alright with hunger because I was still swollen but now that I am not, I am constantly hungry and I am definitely in what lap bandsters call "Bandster Hell". It is hell. I am not just kind of hungry, I am hungry to point that I burst into tears yesterday because my mom's neighbors were cooking out and I smelled it and when I came home all I could eat were mashed potatoes and a stupid protein shake. Ugh. Chris is helping me, as much as he can at least, deal with my hunger/emotional issues but I know it is just something I have to endure. I will not cheat. I will not cheat. I will not cheat. I have no desire to cheat on my diet actually. I am too afraid to mess something in there up. I know that I am on this diet for healing purposes and I am trying my best to remind myself of that.

I get to start 'mushies' in 2 days and I already have my first 2 meals planned. (Tuna salad with boiled egg, crackers, and green beans! this is over the course of 2 meals.) Mushies are basically anything that is easily digestible and well cooked. The kicker for me is, I can only eat 2 oz of food per meal (the same as right now, hence STARVING.) In between meals I have to get in my 20 oz protein shake (I drank this all at once this morning over 2 hours and it was too much I think. I will probably spread it out half and half tomorrow in the morning and after lunch. Here's hoping it helps with hunger too!), and on top of that I need to drink 2 bottles of water and 8 more oz of another liquid to get all my liquids in for a day (64 oz). AND on top of all that I am still taking my yucky stomach-healing medicine 1 hr before each meal and before bed. (And when I say yucky I mean 'strawberry' flavored chalk-water.) Along with liquid calcium in the morning (it's great if you like orange creamcicles, but I don't -FAIL) and then 2 hours later I get to take my 2 chewable Flintstones vitamins.

Thankfully, I am still writing down EVERYTHING I do or eat so I can keep track of it all. I am also keeping track of when I use my IS (and the AVG volume) and how much I walk after meals (with my pedometer). Today I walked for about 10 mins after breakfast which was a little over 1/2 a mile and then for lunch I walked about 1.5 miles around the perimeter of the hospital parking lot. (It was beautiful today!) And for after dinner, Chris and I went to the grocery store to get him some food to eat while I was doing my own thing.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "You went to the store while starving? Are you stupid?" And my answer to that is it was my choice to go and yes, I am STUPID. Even though I had already eaten my mashed potatoes (which I am going to mix up tomorrow because I am getting tired of them) I was walking around the grocery store like a sad puppy. It. was. terrible. I didn't cry thankfully, but I could have. Oh, I could have. I just kept reminding myself that I get some awesome tuna salad in 2 days and it will be AMAZING.

And now, I must be off make my protein shake for tomorrow (with pudding for extra thickness!) and to find something for my lunch at work! (Greek yogurt? Cream of chicken soup? Potato soup? Oh the possibilities! -_- )

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Post-op day 4

So I've gotten quite a few questions lately, and i figured other people were probably curious too so I am going to do a little 'do it yourself' mini-questionnaire.

1. How are feeling?/How is your pain?
I'm not doing too bad! It hurts to bend and to sit (especially since Chris wasn't here to help me today) and to stand. I only took my pain meds this morning and have been doing okay without them! Chris was talking about seeing a movie later tonight, so if we do that I will probably take one just to be on the safe side. I don't want to be super uncomfortable during a movie. I took my binder off for a few hours today (a thing I wear around my stomach to keep it from giggling and hurting and such) and that went okay, but then I took a shower (for the first time in 3 days...YAY) and decided it would be best to not push it and I put it back on. I also took off my TED hose (really tight stockings that help with leg circulation) earlier today and would be okay with not putting those back on again....ever! They are supposed to be worn until normal activity resumes, but for the weekend, I am more active now than I usually am! (Sad, but true.) I went on a walk this morning after breakfast up and down my street and it felt pretty good! I even used my pedometer to keep track of my steps. I would still say the most pain I feel is gas pains and hunger pains (which totally sucks!)

What do your incisions look like?
I have 6 total incisions. They are all almost in a row. 4 of them are about 1/2 inch wide, the one by my belly button is about 1-1.5 inches, and the one where my port was placed is about 2 inches. And, for an added bonus I have a pic! Don't mind my gross stomach and the lighting was weird so any yellow you see is just bruising.

So there are 3 on YOUR left, my belly button, and 2 on your right.

Other things:

I am still pretty itchy with or without the binder and I can see where my stomach is still swollen but I have lost the water weight from the hospital already (which was only about 2-5 pounds anyway). I am also incredibly HUNGRY! My tummy is very rumbly! I did have 2 BM's today so that was a great sign that I can start my protein shakes! I already had about 6 oz of one and it made me feel pretty full but it didn't last that long (I think it maybe caused some of my bloating). I think it is because some of the pain I feel is gas and some is hunger and I just can't tell the difference! That's probably the most annoying part. I just can't wait to eat some REAL food! Once my week is up (next Wednesday, ugh) I can start eating 'mushies' like eggs and tuna salad or chicken salad (YAY) I can't tell you how amazing tuna salad with a hard boiled egg in it sounds! I was looking up different recipes last night on the Lap Band Talk message boards and it was a terrible idea because then I was REALLY hungry! (Lots of good ideas though!) Speaking of food, I took my yucky carapace liquid stuff about 45 mins ago so I get to eat some mashed potatoes soon! This is also very rough! I know I COULD eat more than 2 oz but I'm not supposed to. I have NEVER had this much control, but I am sticking to it and if I need more after that I will finish my tolerable protein shake. I am pretty darn excited about these mashed potatoes too!

Band Stats:

This is something not many people care about but I talked to my surgeon about it before the surgery because I just needed to know what he was putting in me. So here is the info about my band:

Realize Band
12 cc

He chose this band because he thinks the website is better and more patient friendly. I didn't have a real preference because I knew they both worked the same way. I am glad with his decision and I have a little card with a code on it to get to their website. I am going to check it out tonight probably.

If you have any more questions please feel free to post it on the comments or email/facebook/message me on LBT and I will be glad to answer them!

And on that note, I'm outta here to go make my awesome instant mashed potatoes!

<3 Erin

Friday, May 6, 2011


Hello all!

I have now been home for 25 hours. I woke up in a good amount of pain (because my last pain pill was about 8 hours ago) and could NOT get comfortable. So, I ended up getting up at 7:30 am...ugh. I also had to pee once in the middle of the night and take nausea medicine and that wasn't very fun either. So here is the rundown of my day:

7:30 - Take pain meds, take liquid meds for healing the stomach (I have to take this 1 hour before every meal and once before bedtime), take chewable vitamins, take nexium, take temperature, pee AGAIN. If you are wondering why I took my temperature last night we are supposed to monitor it for the first week after surgery and if it gets to 101.5 I have to go to the ER. I'm guess that could mean infection...which is, of course, bad.

I walked around the house a bit to get some circulation and an hour later got to eat! Oh, I also took some Gas-X because I was soooo bloated. For breakfast I had 2 oz of Instant Cream of Wheat. I couldn't even finish it though! I'm not sure if it was from the bloating, or the pain, or if I was actually full. So I really only ate about 1 oz of my Cream of Wheat (which wasn't too bad consider I had never eaten it before). After eating, I had to walk around the house again for 8-10 minutes and Chris is NOT letting slack off on that at all.

Speaking of Chris, he has been so amazing taking care of me! He brings me my meds when I need them, he helps me get out of bed and up off the couch. I don't know what I would have done without him today! I love him! And on top of taking care of me, he is giving Roxie her meds too (we took her to the vet on Monday and she was having an allergic reaction to some FLEAS (poor thing) and she had a slight ear infection.

I practiced my incentive spirometer (IS) a few times this morning and that is not going so hot. You have to breath in as deep as you can for as long as you can and make this little thingy go up on the IS. When I first started this thing on my pre-op diet I could get it up to 2400 mL and now I can rarely get it over 1500. I am going to try to do it more than recommended to get my lung capacity back up. Two hours after lunch, I drank my calcium supplement (1000 mg). We got kind of bored after that so we went to Best Buy so I could walk around a little and get rid of some of this stupid gas pain!

For lunch I had some delicious strained cream of potato soup! (2.5 oz) I ate it a little too fast, but because it is liquid I don't think I'll get into too much trouble. Although I did hiccup once and that SUCKED! Definitely do not want to do that anymore.

Shortly after lunch, we went to the PX in Lawrence to try to find a poncho for Chris but with no luck. I got to walk around a lot there too and it felt good! Walking somewhere other than the house is much more effective. Once we got home and a little bit after I had some chicken broth from Thai Smile and sadly it tasted differently than it used to. I don't know if it was because it was just the broth, or I didn't get to eat the chicken, or because my tastes are changing already! (For those of you that aren't aware, a lot of bandsters and other people that get WLS have a total change in palate.) After the 2 oz of broth I felt I needed something a bit thicker so I had another 2 oz of potato soup. It's more than I was supposed to eat but I don't think 2 oz will tip the scales too much. :) Oh and NOW I am getting super itchy under my binder! I may put a pillowcase in between me and the binder like they suggested if I can find an extra, clean one.

I have been keeping track of everything I do all day, even counting my steps with a pedometer. I may have to get something a big bigger than the small notebook I have but this will do fine for now. I may even get super dorky and make some spreadsheets to keep track of everything! Now....if I could just get these TED hose off! They are driving me kind of nuts! Although, I really don't think I'm reading to take off the binding!

I am going to attempt a shower tonight and tomorrow I will TRY to type a little for work! It will be nice to make up some hours if I can. Even if it's only a few hours it's better than not making up any of them. Oh, also I jumped on the scale today out of sheer curiosity and I am actually UP by about 2 pounds. I'm sure that is water weight from the hospital and I can't WAIT until I get rid of it and move on to mushie foods! I keep looking at the recipes that people make in this phase and it has me really excited to do on a tiny meal cooking spree! I have some perfect-sized small little Tupperware cups to bring my food to work in too! They are 4 oz containers so I know if I fill them up half way I have 2 oz! YAY for small containers!

Well Chris is telling me it's time to walk around since I just ate a bit ago, so off I go to walk/wander around the house for a bit!

<3 erin

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Can you see my butt??

Yay for hospital gowns! I am currently sitting in my hospital bed at St. Vincent's Carmel. Mom is chillin' with me and Chris is at home (hopefully) studying for his 2 finals tomorrow. Surgery went excellently. I wasn't even nervous getting hooked up to things in the OR! But I'm getting ahead of myself....

So. Chris and I got here at 9:3o am and got to the surgery entrance. As soon as we got in there a nice violunteer told us what was going to happen and gave Chris a vibrating thingy (think restaurant buzzer) and then they sent me back to the pre-op area. They took my height and weight and brought me to a room where I signed some consent forms, peed in a cup (again), changed into awesome hotel gowns (I took 2 so I could cover my bum) and I got my IV started. After all that Chris got to comeback and we watched some TV before I made him go eat. I thought we wouldn't be doing anything anyway...well I was wrong. Shortly after he left Dr. Diaz (my surgeon) came in and talked to me a bit and answered my questions (I asked what kind of band I was getting and he is giving m ea 12 cc Realize Band), and he told me I was the type of person that succeeded the most with the band because I was well-educated on it and very motivated! :) THEN the Chaplin came in and we said a little prayer. A bit after he left Chris came back and we watched more and more TV and nodded off a bit until FINALLY they came back to get me around 1-1:30 (I really can't remember).

They walked me back to the OR and I still wasn't nervous! We were talking about my hair the whole way there. Well once I layed down in there and was gently strapped in, I started to feel WHOA FUNNY. They gave me meds already! Well, the next thing I remember is them waking me up in recovery. I was WAY tired and I was having trouble breathing in due to pain. Once they gave me some meds though I was better, just really sleepy. Finally, they wheeled my upstairs and into my room where Chris and my mom were waiting. It was nice to see their faces.A while after that Chris's mom came to visit and chat too. So since then I have been sleeping off and on every hour or 2 and walking every 2 hours. I just got back in my room at 4 so I have only walked twice. I walked one lap the first time and 2 the last. If I can get more sleep, I may go for 3 next time (I know, I'm a total overachiever.) So now I'm just chillin with my Moms! I'm not really in a lot of pain. I got some pain meds before I got up to walk and I really just feel full...which I guess I am, haha.

Well, there you have play by play of my day so far. I think I'm gonna go back to sleep now :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

15 hours...oh my!

15 hours to go people!!! It's not sinking in yet, but I'm sure it will as soon as I try to go to sleep. I am all packed (except for the few things I have to wait til tomorrow to pack), Roxie is at her aunt Adrienne's house (I miss her already!), my snake has water (yes, I have a snake...his name is Solomon!), my laptop is charged and packed, folded and put away all my clean clothes (since I won't be doing a lot of bending after tomorrow for a while), had Chris take some 'before' pics, AND I am completely exhausted! After I finish this post I have to shower with antibacterial bar soap and I am soooo NOT looking forward to it! It is going to totally dry me out like no other. THEN I have to do it again in the morning! Gwarg! (This is so I am extra clean for the procedure). I also had my 'last supper' at Johnny Carinos. I didn't go all out...I had a chicken Caesar salad and bread pudding...because wow, I freakin' love JC's bread pudding!

I guess I don't really feel any of those fears a lot of people least not yet. There have been a few fleeting scary thoughts in my head, but I try to ignore them. Chris is nervous enough for the both of us, I think. I have all of my full liquid foods ready and Chris is ready to suffer right along with me after the surgery! Thankfully, I was able to get a computer from work so if I am released to at least sit and type, I can do that from home this weekend as to not lose TOO many hours from work. YAY for work you can do at home! for the BEFORE pics. Keep in mind, I am exhausted, tired, and need a shower in this pics (taken just tonight) and I, in no way, like them. But, they are real and they are not going to be me much longer, so I'm okay with posting them. Also, they are clothed because I am not as brave as some people that can post themselves in their undies because well....just no.

Why are side views so unflattering? Ugh.

Yay for my favorite tie dye!

Alright people. I have my laptop. I will probably get bored after surgery and post from my room after surgery so everyone knows I'm alive. Until then...wish me luck and good night!!!